The siege of tyre Alexander the great summary




The siege of tyre Alexander the great summary


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The siege of tyre Alexander the great summary



  • city virtually unconquerable because it was on an island ½ a mile off the coast,
  • Alexander still had too few ships to attack by sea after disbanding his own fleet,
  • Tyrians didn’t really want anyone (Macedonian or Persian) ruling them,
  • island denied Alexander the chance to sacrifice at the temple of Melcarth (Hercules),
  • Alexander laid siege to the town for 7 months.


But why spend 7 long months besieging Tyre...?

  • he couldn’t leave any port open for the Persian fleet
  • he couldn’t move east before controlling Egypt, Cyprus, and Syria behind him.
  • the Persians could regain control of cities that Alexander had taken from them
  • if he destroyed Tyre he would control all Phoenicia and its fleet (which formed the basis of the Persian fleet) might come over to him
  • if the Phoenician ships joined Alexander then the Cyprus fleet might too
  • with this (potential) new fleet he could easily control Greece and Egypt if necessary.
  • too make an example of them for not surrendering.

It is hard to know what would of happened if he had ignored Tyre and gone straight after Darius. He would have definitely saved himself a lot of time and another very hard battle.

Remember...Alexander loved a challenge and Tyre seemed impossible to capture.


  • Alexander built a mole to reach the island from the shore. To protect his workmen he built two huge towers but the Tyrians set fire to. SO Alexander built the mole wider to carry more siege engines.
  • The Phoenician ships had come over to Alexander giving him a fleet with which he now attacked the town with. BUT the Tyrians refused to fight at sea as they were outnumbered and blockade their own entrance to keep out Alexander.


  • Alexander bombarded the city walls from the mole and from artillery engines onboard transport ships. SO the Tyrians dropped huge boulders into the water preventing Alexander’s ships from getting close to the walls.
  • Alexander sent ships in to clear away the boulders. BUT the Tyrians used divers to cut the anchor ropes of Alexander’s ships. SO Alexander used chains instead and the Tyrians were stumped.


  • Alexander discovered that the south wall was vulnerable. So he attacked the harbour AND the south wall.
  • Tyre gave in. 8,000 were killed in very bitter fighting, 30,000 were sold into slavery. Only 400 Macedonians died.


The Macedonians showed no mercy to the Tyrians because

  1. they resented they very long siege
  2. captured Macedonian soldiers had been killed on the walls in full view of the Macedonian army





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The siege of tyre Alexander the great summary